Eighteen years ago today, the United States of America changed forever. I can't even fathom how it has been eighteen years already.

I can vividly remember where I was on that fateful day. I was on duty for the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office patrol division and assigned to the Sulphur, Louisiana area of the parish that day.

I was on Henning Drive in Sulphur by the elementary school, watching a stop sign that drivers seemed to ignore all the time which caused concern to me for the kids. All of a sudden, the radio in my police unit starting going off.

The dispatcher came on the air and I could hear the sense of urgency in her voice. I remember every word she spoke. The crackle came over in her voice and said, "Sheriff's Office to all units please stand by for emergency traffic."

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Most the time, when the dispatcher would say that we had a very important call to go on like a fight, domestic issue, or even a bad wreck. However, this time was totally different and we didn't even realize the severity of the situation.

She came over the air and started dispatching units on the west side of the parish to different locations. One was sent to the Sulphur courthouse while others were sent to the different city halls of DeQuincy, Vinton, Westlake, and Sulphur.

I was dispatched to the south Sulphur substation which was located at the Carlyss airport. I was advised to secure the airport, as they were shutting down all air traffic leaving or landing.

I remember saying to myself, What the heck is going on?  Well, I headed toward the airport at a pretty fast pace to get there and assess the situation. I will never forget what happened next.

I walked into the substation and saw everyone huddled around the big screen TV and, at that moment, I saw the second plane fly into the second tower of the World Trade Center. My jaw hit the ground. Then, I was told that a plane had already flown into the first tower so now both towers had been hit.

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I can remember feeling all sorts of emotions. Sad for the people in those towers, angry that someone did this on purpose, scared for the possible next thing to happen, and a sense of urgency for me to do whatever it took to make sure the citizens of Calcasieu Parish were safe.

That was a really emotional and crazy day. Once I got off at 6:00pm, I just sat in front of my television the entire night, watching the news in disbelief.

Two years ago, I got the opportunity to go to New York on a work trip. We had a day off and the first place I wanted to go to was the site of the two World Trade Centers to visit the memorial. I wanted to pay my respects to all who died there that day.

If you have never been, do your self a favor and please go. It was beautiful how they memorialized the lives lost. It also was very quiet there, which made it hit home to me that much more.

Eighteen years later as I sit back and reflect on all the EMTs, police officers, firefighters, and civilians we lost that day, my heart still hurts for them, their families, and our country.

God Bless the USA and the families as we remember them today.